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Ye Olde English Instruments

Stu 23 Jun 05 - 05:20 AM
Le Scaramouche 23 Jun 05 - 05:32 AM
Stu 23 Jun 05 - 05:49 AM
Stu 23 Jun 05 - 05:52 AM
Geoff the Duck 23 Jun 05 - 05:56 AM
Mr Happy 23 Jun 05 - 08:23 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Jun 05 - 08:35 PM
eleanor c 23 Jun 05 - 10:40 PM
Sleepy Rosie 24 Mar 09 - 03:09 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Mar 09 - 03:43 AM
Jack Campin 24 Mar 09 - 05:08 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Mar 09 - 05:15 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Mar 09 - 05:39 AM
Jack Campin 24 Mar 09 - 05:51 AM
Jack Blandiver 24 Mar 09 - 05:55 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Mar 09 - 05:56 AM
Sleepy Rosie 24 Mar 09 - 05:57 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Mar 09 - 05:58 AM
Sleepy Rosie 24 Mar 09 - 06:12 AM
Sleepy Rosie 24 Mar 09 - 06:16 AM
Jack Campin 24 Mar 09 - 06:30 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Mar 09 - 06:55 AM
Georgiansilver 24 Mar 09 - 06:57 AM
Sleepy Rosie 24 Mar 09 - 07:26 AM
Jack Blandiver 24 Mar 09 - 07:26 AM
Jack Campin 24 Mar 09 - 08:15 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Mar 09 - 09:14 AM
SteveMansfield 24 Mar 09 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Phil Williams 24 Mar 09 - 10:06 AM
JohnB 24 Mar 09 - 10:31 AM
Jack Blandiver 24 Mar 09 - 11:07 AM
Jack Campin 24 Mar 09 - 11:11 AM
sian, west wales 24 Mar 09 - 11:54 AM
Sleepy Rosie 24 Mar 09 - 01:51 PM
Jack Campin 25 Mar 09 - 01:58 PM
smallpiper 25 Mar 09 - 04:19 PM
Richard Bridge 25 Mar 09 - 06:14 PM
Jack Campin 25 Mar 09 - 07:14 PM
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Subject: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Stu
Date: 23 Jun 05 - 05:20 AM

I was watching an old BBC Everyman documentary I keep on VHS the other day on the Celtic heritage of the English, and the survival of these beliefs in the English psyche and culture, even though it goes almost wholly unrecognised.

The soundtrack is mainly the Eldar Pipes and the Pigs Bladder, two instruments I am unfamiliar with. I love the drone of the Pigs Bladder and would like to try playing one.

Does anyone know of these instruments (or any other ancient English/Welsh instruments), and have you played/made them?

stigWeard


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 23 Jun 05 - 05:32 AM

I wouldn't exactly call pipes a Celtic heritage. Just about every pastoral culture in the world has had them at one point or another.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Stu
Date: 23 Jun 05 - 05:49 AM

The pipes were just the soundtrack - they weren't mentioned in the programme. I am more interested the musical instruments themselves than their provenance.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Stu
Date: 23 Jun 05 - 05:52 AM

Actually, I suppose that is not strictly true. I am interested in their provenance, but only from the point of view of ancient English/Welsh origins.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 23 Jun 05 - 05:56 AM

I don't know about provenance.
The only use for bladders I am aware of is the bladder on a piece of string attached to a stick, used for hitting people. The Morris Fool bladder is not usually from a pig as they are too small when inflated. It is usual to use a "beast's" bladder i.e. from cattle as they are larger.
As for the pipes - are we talking about twigs of elder tree with the pith removed. They do give a hollow bore which can be made into a simple whistle, although I have never had much success when trying to do so. Rustic might describe the result, but not a percise musical instrument.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Mr Happy
Date: 23 Jun 05 - 08:23 PM

Stig,

Don't know if you knew, but your use of 'Ye' in your title is erroneous.

It's a typo from Caxton's time & there's really never been any such word as 'Ye' in the English language.

Caxton's printing press couldn't print the old English letter 'Thorn', which had the sound 'th', as in 'the', so he substituted a 'Y' instead, hence 'Ye'- which should really be pronounced 'the' as in modern English.

See here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%DE


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Jun 05 - 08:35 PM

Html can do it, mind:   Þe.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: eleanor c
Date: 23 Jun 05 - 10:40 PM

Yes I recently saw an historic instrument demo at Oxburgh Hall by a multiinstrumentalist dressed like sir walter raleigh. The bladder pipe is an oboe style double reed attached to said bladder attached to a wooden tube wi' holes drilled in with a red hot poker. Sheeps horn on the far end optional.The bladder acts as a reservoir of air, so you can get a continuous stream of air without learning circular breathing. Sounded like: a musical squealing pig. Pretty cool. And a whifft of pork scratchings with every tune. Bladder needs to be untanned, he implied.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 03:09 AM

Note: RESURRECTED THREAD

I was doing a search for English folk instruments (and 'traditional English instruments', and this is what I came up with:

English folk instruments

Well they're right pretty for sure, but what are they? And what do you do with them? And where can I learn a bit about English folk instruments on the interwebby?


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 03:43 AM

I seem to remember that The Victoria & Albert Museum has lots of old instruments.

L in C


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 05:08 AM

None of the instruments in that photo are either specifically English or traditional. The harp is a modern type of folk harp invented in the late 19th cnetury. The psaltery (triangular thing) is a 20th century development of a past that might have been. The elongated thing seems to be some kind of string drum like the tambourin de Béarn from the Basque Country, but with two sets of strings to provide two pitches (or two chords), with a shoulder strap so you can beat it with your right hand while playing a tabor pipe with your left. These are not recorded from England at all. The picture is too dark for me to work out what the woodwind instruments are. I presume at least one of them is a tabor pipe to go with the drum.

Elder whistles can work very well. Look at the furulyas and kavals of Moldavian and Transylvanian music. I don't think there was ever a British tradition of making elder whistles as big as the Moldavian kaval, though - mine is in A, a tone higher than an alto flute, and they can be made bigger even than that.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 05:15 AM

What ever we me think about folk / traditional / art / composed songs isn't it the case that when it comes to instruments the divide barely exists. I guess pumped or blown bagpipes are essentially "folk" plenty of other instruments exist in both or all camps of performance?

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 05:39 AM

The V & A has all sorts of instruments but "folk" os probably not a category that they use:

Musical Instruments at the V & A

Now, Darwin is over the road at the Natural History Museum - what a choice!

Cheers
L in C


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 05:51 AM

I tried to see the V&A musical instruments last weekend, on my first visit to London in ten years. The gallery was closed. Seems they only open that part of the museum for a few hours a month and the times can change without notice. Not exactly helpful. (I was not very impressed with the V&A in general - mostly a display of the results of having more money than taste, over several hundred years).


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 05:55 AM

On the subject of which, how you getting on with the viol, Rosie???


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 05:56 AM

Thanks for that Jack. We have been since before several wars but are there this weekend. I remember being impressed in about 1976. Looks like it might be worth a miss?

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 05:57 AM

"What ever we me think about folk / traditional / art / composed songs isn't it the case that when it comes to instruments the divide barely exists. I guess pumped or blown bagpipes are essentially "folk" plenty of other instruments exist in both or all camps of performance?"

I wouldn't have a clue - not knowing anything about the culture and history of music, it's an interesting thought. But venturing a few guesses, I'd think that there may be pragmatic elements, which while not strictly 'dividing' the instruments of the lower classes from the upper, might have shaped their predominance somewhat.

I'd guess that 'folk' may have generally had instruments which were easily portable, could be constructed from readily available materials, not requiring a high degree of musical support in terms of fellow instruments (bagpipes have their own accompaniement in the form of a drone don't they?), err not too big and bulky etc...?


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 05:58 AM

Rosie, I feel sure an appropriate Historian of Music will pop up at any moment

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 06:12 AM

I haven't touched the viol frankly. I got it back off loan from a music teacher friend a while back and haven't taken it any further since.
But yeah, err...

Embarrasing but I had (till I got rid of the piano) more instruments than I could shake a rattley thing at: Treble Viol, Piano, Djembe, Bodhran, funny old Mandolin, Electric Keyboards, Tin Whistle, Blues Harp, Electric Bass, Accoustic Guitar, and of course jingly ankle bells.. Embarassing because although 'musical households' might deem this amount of instruments to be normal, I can't play a note on anything!! Most of these belonged to my Mother to be fair.
Though I have picked up the Bodhran recently..!
And I still want to learn keyboards, though since it's a bulky thing I put it in 'cold dark clutterd room'.
Along with the poor old neglected Viol...


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 06:16 AM

Actually I'm pretty proficient with the ankle bells...
Fecking hippy!


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 06:30 AM

The right instrument is the one you can't stop yourself noodling on. Leave them all out of their cases and see which one you find yourself just tinkering with to hear what comes out.

there may be pragmatic elements, which while not strictly 'dividing' the instruments of the lower classes from the upper, might have shaped their predominance somewhat.

I'd guess that 'folk' may have generally had instruments which were easily portable, could be constructed from readily available materials, not requiring a high degree of musical support in terms of fellow instruments (bagpipes have their own accompaniement in the form of a drone don't they?), err not too big and bulky etc...?


It isn't quite that sharp a distinction. In most cultures, there have been instruments anyone might play (like a shepherd's flute), and instruments only a few people would play (like a shaman's drum, gypsy bandmaster's violin or cathedral organ). Once you get an occupational group of professional or semi-pro musicians, they tend to cross class boundaries - the ploughman/fiddler who plays for peasant weddings finds he can sell his services to the landlord as well. Or you might find that an instrument that was originally so complex and expensive to make that it was reserved for elite music later became democratized when production ramped up. The Highland pipes seem to have gone that way: the first records of it describe it being played in display pieces for royalty and the aristocracy, it only becomes an instrument for dance music much later.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 06:55 AM

I guess the first step into trying to understand music, of any kind, from before the Industrial Revolution is to get to a realistic understanding of life when most people worked on the land and many were farm labourers with no rights and almost no wealth.

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 06:57 AM

You might find this interesting
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 07:26 AM

"The harp is a modern type of folk harp invented in the late 19th cnetury."

I read somewhere that the Victorians created lots of 'folk' instruments for their parlour amusements... The 'lute harp' being one. Any others?


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 07:26 AM

My secret fantasy is to sell all my instruments and buy a Fender Precision. At heart I am a bassist, I got into folk by accident, because of my hearing, but the other day in a Manchester music shop I played a Fender Precision and felt the same perfect warmth and affinity as I did when I was fifteen, even though the kids in the shop looked on in a mixture of fear and admiration at my doom laden approximations of Jannick Top as I sat there all the while grinning like an idiot. Trouble is, there is no band, nor yet any desire to join one, so there'd I be - a solitary bassist!

Rapunzel's bought herself a new banjo on Saturday; such is their relationship I'm beginning to feel like a gooseberry, but a happy one as my services are called on with respect of blue-grass Black Sea Fiddle and Jew's Harps. I'm loving it. I'd say the open-backed 5-string banjo is the perfect folk instrument, though I'd never dare play it myself...


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 08:15 AM

I read somewhere that the Victorians created lots of 'folk' instruments for their parlour amusements... The 'lute harp' being one. Any others?

The concertina is the best known - intended as a violin substitute for people who couldn't tune the real thing or put their fingers in the right place.

I have two of these Victorian inventions on my website - the "mouth flutina" (which I've never seen - the ancestor of the melodica) and the Italian ocarina (pretty successful). I also have the rock band (not all that practical for the average household).

Late in the century you got the autoharp, the piano-harp and the Dulcitone, all of which seem to have been intended to accompany small groups of people singing hymns.

The modern guitar is the most successful member of that family - sociologically it's a just a harmonium that got lucky. Guitarists prefer to forget its origins as something the white bourgeoisie could use to play the dullest music in history.

Then by the middle of the 20th century the trend developed into instruments intended for children and which seem designed to ensure that kids get put off music permanently. Like those plucked psalteries with the tune notated on graphs that went under the strings, out-of-tune glockenspiels with multicoloured bars and no resonators so they just made nasty high-pitched plinks, or the Langley ocarina with a fingering system so weird and clumsy that nobody ever gets past playing "Speed Bonny Boat" off the tablature chart.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 09:14 AM

Hey Mister Sinister the Beginners Tunes Session at the Beech could do with a bit of bass and I feel sure you will both feel most at home there!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 09:55 AM

> Guitarists prefer to forget its origins as something
> the white bourgeoisie could use to play the dullest
> music in history.

Well in the vast majority of indie music that's still the case ...

The classic example of the 'downward mobility' of instruments is the flute.

A vast over-simplification of a complex and lengthy process now follows - but in essence when Boehm invented and popularised the metal fully-keyed flute, the old-style wooden flutes with keys and open tone holes fell out of favour with the amateur and professional art-music fraternity. Discarded or surplus-to-requirements wooden flutes therefore became available to those on lower incomes than had previously had the opportunity to purchase them.

Of course these days you can get a decent metal flute for far less than you can a decent wooden flute, but that's another story ...


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: GUEST,Phil Williams
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 10:06 AM

There is a fair bit of mis-information about harps in England, however, this is 'the full monty' , or at least a large dollop of monty.
http://www.cornwallharpcentre.co.uk/history.htm


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: JohnB
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 10:31 AM

Well Sinister Supporter, I heard this guy Michael Manring play with a group called "Montreaux" sp? back in the late 80's. The programme said that he did solo bass concerts, what could sound more boring than that. Well half way through the set the rest of the group left the stage and he did a bass solo, I tell you I wanted a whole concert, the guy is amazing.
He played a fretless bass in an extremely percussive style and there wasn't a single place on the whole thing which he didn't touch in the most amazing fashion.
Not exactly an Olde English Instrument I know!
What about a Vox Humanus?
JohnB.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 11:07 AM

Yeah - I feel the same way about Colin Hodgkinson:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gutdzlHK6E


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 11:11 AM

Or on the acoustic bass, look up Renaud Garcia-Fons on Youtube.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: sian, west wales
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 11:54 AM

There's a site that gives all the D.I.Y info required to make a a pibgorn - the Welsh version of the ubiquitous shepherd's pipe.

We've also bought, at trac, 3 crwths which are available (along with tutor) for workshops for a reasonable sum ...

sian


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 01:51 PM

Sian, that site's quite interesting. Think I'll forward the information to a friend of mine who handcrafts drums and didgereedoo's.

The Bass upstairs is an Ibanez - not that it means anything to me - though I am familiar with the sacred words 'Fender' and 'Gibson' from those guitarists I know (who tend to be approximately divided between those holy men who play one, and those who don't but wish they did..). Brand new and barely touched before my Mother pegged it, but I'll never be able to play the thing whether I'd want to or not, 'cos it's a bluddy left hander.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Mar 09 - 01:58 PM

Good luck with the pibgorn if you get one. Not at all easy to get listenable music out of.

Is there much evidence of them being played in England, and if so what for?


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: smallpiper
Date: 25 Mar 09 - 04:19 PM

The Goodacre brothers are good at esurecting old English pipe type things ... I'm sure thy've got a website


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Mar 09 - 06:14 PM

Some electric Ibanezes are very good indeed. The Ibanez "Jem" 6 string plank has a cult following. The pickups tended to go microphonic, though.


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Subject: RE: Ye Olde English Instruments
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Mar 09 - 07:14 PM

Julian Goodacre is the maker:

www.goodbagpipes.co.uk

I have a set of his pipes (made to special order and not listed there) and have heard most of the models in his catalogue. The Cornish double pipes are probably the most remarkable, but not easy to play.


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